TransCanada is fighting people that are worried more about aesthetics and ideals rather than benefits to the consumer (TransCanada, 2013).
3.2 The significance of organization to issue and vice versa (330 words)
In the end, the issue that faces TransCanada is selling the pipeline to the public effectively enough, as well as to the populations that can green-light the project, so that the project goes forward and thus allowing TransCanada to deliver oil more efficiently and quickly than is currently possible given the current oil transportation infrastructure that exists. This is especially true given the advent of oil sands and fracking in the United States as well as parts of Canada (Koring, 2013). The gist of the issue is that many people support the pipeline but some are concerned and many of the people that are averse to the project are politicians that are trying to push green energy and/or are anti-oil in general. (TransCanada, 2013).
The issue is significant to the organization but the same is true in reverse. The general concerns about energy accidents and there not being enough emphasis on green energy initiatives is certainly salient and relevant to the issue but TransCanada can certainly counter that petroleum-based energy is not going anywhere anytime soon. Even so, the concerns about energy prices, energy accidents and the overall impacts to everyone involved is something that TransCanada certainly need to be cognizant and aware of and they fail to do so at their own peril as the blogosphere, media sphere and the general population will probably generally support TransCanada more often than they do not but that can literally turn on a dime and, as BP found out, that "turn" can be quite vicious and damaging. BP is still around but they had to a pay a heavy price because of that Gulf spill. Even though pipelines over ground have shown to be good over the long haul, it will be no less easy for TransCanada to sell this one.
4.1 An existing academic definition of publics and apply it to identify your organization's publics in relation to this issue (150 words)
Publics can basically be any group of people or organizations that can be classified as being major audiences as it pertains to the realm of public relations. For TransCanada, the publics that they must deal with (just like any other firm) include the employees and shareholders but also includes the public, the politicians, and the special interest groups. The publics in particular that distinguish TransCanada are the politicians that have the ability to green-light the project and the populace that can urge (or resist) the pipeline's construction and progress. TransCanada must attack on both fronts and tout the benefits and the safety of the pipeline and what it will mean to energy prices and energy availability, both of which go hand in hand. In other words, they must attack the social and political front while at the same time worrying about profitability and ongoing concerns (TransCanada, 2013).
4.2 The order of priority of these publics (150 words)
Because of the nature of TransCanada's business, the normal order of things as it relates to publics being employees and shareholders first is probably not going to be true, at least not in situations like this where the concerns of the public and the politicians are literally the only thing standing in the way of a project like the Keystone XL pipeline. If the author of this paper were to rank the order of public right now, it would be politicians, the public populace, employees, shareholders and then everyone else. During normal times, the politicians and regular employee would probably take a back seat to the employees and shareholders but anytime there is a spike in energy prices or a project proposed like this, the order will indeed shift. In modern times with things like war in the Middle East (a high-oil area) and energy accidents (like the BP oil spill), it would seem that high alert is the norm nowadays.
4.3 The connection between these publics and your organization in relation to this specific issue (150 words)
As noted elsewhere in this paper, the connection between this issue, the publics and TransCanada are not hard to see and it is also clear that some hard-set opinions and viewpoints are currently guiding the debate. Even so, many of the concerns and priorities levied by all the groups involved are important to some degree and a common-sense and multi-faceted solution for everyone involved should be found because the benefits to Canada (as well as to the United States and over countries) can be easy to find if one only looks. However, there are dangers that have to be realized and recognized as well and failure to take these seriously can lead to a PR and/or fiscal nightmare for both the company and for other groups and people. Energy companies, rightly or wrongly, have a tougher road to travel as it relates to the public and this is true for a number of reasons, some fair and some not.
In the end, TransCanada will probably get the pipeline that they want but they have made it clear that they will pursue over avenues if they have to. One example of this has been a proposed re-routing of the pipeline and/or selling oil to other countries if the United States is not interested in being a beneficiary of the pipeline. However, given that people are very sensitive to oil price changes and since oil availability is a large factor in that, it will not be hard for TransCanada to use that as a wedge to get the pipeline that they want as the public will force the issue if the respective governments involved do not.
TransCanada also must realize, and the author of this report is sure that they do, that some parties are vehemently anti-oil and no amount of speechifying or positioning is going to appease those kinds of people or change their mind. This is not to say that they should be ignored because that would be foolish. However, TransCanada knows that most people want their country to be energy-independent from the Middle East and they could easily see the pipeline as a way to get there.
That being said, TransCanada has to be quickly on top of any accident and the public relations department should work in concert with the executives and other prominent figures with the company so that appearances and perceptions do not get out of whack. For example, the public relations department, if there is an accident, should clarify how executives doing certain things (like the CEO of BP after the oil rig blast) can look very bad to the company.
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